Allseas & Pioneering Spirit


Commercial and programme advisor to the global leader in offshore structures, since 2007.

From pipelines to platforms, Allseas Group excels in the design and execution of the biggest and most complex offshore projects. An innovator in marine engineering, the Switzerland-based company owns and operates the Pioneering Spirit – the largest construction vessel ever built.

A game-changer in offshore installation and decommissioning, Pioneering Spirit can position or remove deep-sea oil and gas platforms in a single lift, allowing significantly more work to be done onshore, which is cost effective, safer and more environmentally responsible.

The vessel has sophisticated heave compensation and dynamic positioning systems that provide stability in unpredictable sea states.  This allows the topside lift and pipe lay operations to be executed with greater efficiency.

Since our initial commission for an engineering, procurement and construction contract in India, HKA has worked continuously in support of various Allseas projects, not least the five-year programme to construct and commission Pioneering Spirit, and its support vessels.


Working closely with our client’s project teams and engineering and legal department, HKA provides expert commercial and contractual support services, programme management, and other specialist support.

What we did

HKA assembles tailored teams with the specialist skills required for each commission. These typically comprise a mix of consultants (usually dual-qualified in law and a technical discipline), IT specialists, programmers, delay and cost analysts.

From time to time, HKA call on its bank of specialist engineering expertise for niche issues that arise such as welding and suction caisson foundations for offshore platforms and subsea installations.

The construction of Pioneering Spirit in South Korea and its fit-out in Rotterdam involved a multiplicity of works packages, sub-contracts, and component supply contracts with many parties in different locations across the globe.

  • HKA supported this procurement programme, assisting the client to manage interfaces with the supply chain in different and disparate jurisdictions.
  • Our consultants handled disputes by developing various dispute avoidance and resolution strategies in conjunction with Allseas. These included negotiation, arbitration, litigation and several less formal means of alternative dispute resolution taking varying forms, all of which were designed to safeguard, the client’s financial interests, programme and outturn quality of the final product.
  • We also managed the impact on costs and time of the inevitable design changes that were implemented during the course of this ground-breaking project.

We continue to provide contract administration, commercial, dispute avoidance and resolution and programme management services in support of Allseas operations, working within its project delivery teams. This work has included the long planning and procurement phases of complex projects and decommissioning works, off- and onshore, and the construction and installation of sub-sea pipelines and associated facilities.

Pioneering Spirit’s maiden decommissioning project was for the 13,500-tonne Yme oil and gas platform in the Norwegian North Sea in 2016, which was followed by the vessel’s removal of the 24,200-tonne topsides of Shell’s Brent Delta platform in April 2017, the world’s heaviest offshore lift.

In summer 2017, Pioneering Spirit began pipelay operations for Turkstream’s dual 900 kilometre-long gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea. The project is due for completion in 2019.


HKA has steered procurement and managed out contractual disputes, minimising detrimental impacts on the delivery and maximising the commercial success of these and other Allseas programmes.

The flexibility and specialist skills of HKA’s bespoke teams complement the in-house expertise of Allseas, ensuring seamless management of highly complex projects from design inception through to completion.

The Pioneering Spirit passing under the Bosporus bridge.
"We are so privileged to have the opportunity of working for technically innovative organisations such as Allseas. The projects they deliver are interesting, exciting, high profile and they have afforded us some great opportunities.

Continuing our work alongside Allseas for such a long time has enabled us to develop a mutual trust and understanding that generates a fantastic amount of added value to the projects for Allseas and has assisted us in the assembly of an impressive portfolio of projects to showcase our services, of which we are very proud."
Chris Metcalfe, Partner, HKA
Project Details
  • Client
  • Year
    2007 - Present
  • Services
    Claims & Dispute Resolution
  • Sectors